Home Cooking: A summer dinner on the deck | SummitDaily.com

Home Cooking: A summer dinner on the deck

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Home Cooking
Courtesy Suzanne Anderson

Is it summer if you haven’t had your dinner on the deck? I don’t think so. Especially when a summer dinner is possible with daylight that lasts until 9 p.m. and mild temperatures that might have you reaching for a light sweater once the sun finally slides behind the mountains.

Last Friday, after visiting the farmers market in Dillon, my neighbor Susan and I decided to join forces and have an impromptu potluck dinner on the deck.

Susan brought a delicious kale salad, I made salmon cakes, and we shared some of our farmers market bounty to create a very simple tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad — one of my absolute favorite salads of summer.

All three of these dishes are incredibly easy and come together in a matter of minutes (30 minutes max). I’ve also added one of my favorite ice cream recipes below.

Oven-baked salmon cakes

  • 4 salmon filets, cooked and cooled
  • 1 bunch cilantro or parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 4 scallions chopped, white and green parts
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 1/4 cups breadcrumbs 
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375. In a medium-size bowl, break the cooked and cooled salmon fillets into chunks, add cilantro, scallions, eggs, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs and seasoning.

Gently fold ingredients together and be careful not to break up the salmon chunks. Then form the ingredients into patties with your clean hands and place each on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon pad.

I’ve made these cakes twice, once in a small appetizer size and then in a larger palm-of-the-hand size. I found the larger size was tastier. The smaller size tended to dry out in the oven.

Sprinkle the salmon cakes with olive oil, bake for 10 minutes and then gently flip. Sprinkle again with olive oil, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden brown.  

Salmon cakes sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean condiment available at grocery stores)

Mix ingredients together and adjust for personal preferences. Drizzle over salmon cakes.

Tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad

  • 1 large (or four small) tomatoes, preferably farm fresh
  • 5-6 large basil leaves
  • 1-2 balls of fresh mozzarella
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tomato, and slice or tear the mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Tear basil leaves.

Gently toss together on a platter or in a bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature

Dinosaur (lacinato) kale salad 

  • 1 large bunch of dinosaur kale
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Remove and discard the tough stems from the kale leaves, and then tear the kale into bite-size pieces. With clean hands, massage the kale for one minute to break down the stiffness of the leaves.

Add the juice of one lemon, olive oil, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Toss ingredients together and let rest for 15-20 minutes so the breadcrumbs can soak up the olive oil and lemon juice. Serve at room temperature

Honey-infused ice cream with balsamic strawberries

  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • Balsamic vinegar and sugar to taste

In a saucepan, add heavy cream, milk and honey. Heat to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, crack three eggs into a small bowl and whisk together. Then slowly drizzle about half a cup of the honey cream into the eggs, whisking constantly to temper the eggs without cooking them.

Once tempered, add the egg mixture to the saucepan and continue stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Then strain the custard through a fine sieve into a metal loaf pan, cover and put in the freezer.

For the balsamic strawberries, place the berries, vinegar and sugar in a cup and allow the strawberries to macerate for 1-2 hours.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.

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